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Last US Senate race of midterms up for vote in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi voters are deciding the last US Senate race of the midterms, choosing between a white Republican Senate appointee backed by President Donald Trump and a black Democrat who was agriculture secretary when Bill Clinton was in the White House.

President Donald Trump and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., wave to supporters after arriving for a rally in Tupelo.   --Photo AP

History will be made either way: Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, 59, would be the first woman ever elected to Congress from Mississippi, and Democrat Mike Espy, 64, would be the state’s first African-American US senator since Reconstruction.
Mississippi’s past of racist violence became a dominant theme after a video showed Hyde-Smith praising a supporter in early November by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” She said it was “an exaggerated expression of regard.” More than a week after the video’s release, she said she apologised to “anyone that was offended by my comments,” but also said the remark was used as a “weapon” against her.
Hyde-Smith was seen in another video talking about making voting difficult for “liberal folks,” and a photo circulated of her wearing a replica Confederate military hat during a 2014 visit to Beauvoir, a beachside museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, that was the last home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.
Critics said Hyde-Smith’s comments and Confederate regalia showed callous indifference in a state with a 38 percent black population, and some corporate donors, including Walmart, requested refunds on their campaign contributions to her.
Mississippi - which still has the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag - has a history of racially motivated lynchings.
The NAACP website says that between 1882 and 1968, there were 4,743 lynchings in the United States, and that nearly 73 percent of the victims were black. It says Mississippi had 581 lynching during that time, the highest number of any state.

 

(Latest Update November 28, 2018)


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